This chain's topic is: Have you ever had anything cause you to step back from writing? If so, what was the cause and how long did it take you to get back into the swing of things? If not, do you have any advice for other writers about not letting life get in the way of writing?
Terri was concerned that her question was too much like Elana's (see my link in the chain here...) about how you get out of a writing funk, but I really thought they were two very different ideas.
When I was nineteen or so, I had a life changing year. I met the amazing legionfalcon , who has singlehandedly done more for my writing than other other person in my life. We met at the community college we were both going to at the time, and wound up taking a creative writing course together (I use taking in the loosest of terms...Lege was my "guest"...every class. I think he even started turning in assignments). For a few glorious months we livesleptatebreathed writing. We reviewed others work, and used critical thinking to review. We brainstormed. We wrote really bad emo poetry. It was the best of times.... .
Then I moved cross country.
I'd love to say that I missed writing, that I pined for words and had oodles of backlogged stories begging to be penned (we didn't own a computer), but really? I found other things to do. I fell in love with caving, the outdoors. I camped and rock climbed and trudged up parts of Pike's Peak, which was LITERALLY our frontyard. I ran the children's programs at the cave I worked at and taught kids about geology and read Stellaluna to four-year-olds. I was young and in love and having fun.
I remember only two things written during that time. One was a prompt that my friend Jenny and I did. We told each other three objects that had to be included in our story. Mine were an ankh, a train and a butterfly wing if I'm not mistaken. The other thing I wrote was a children's story about caving. Someone in our caving club heard the idea and gave me a check for what seemed at the time to be a huge amount of money. She wanted me to know she supported me, wanted me to work on the story. It was the first time I was ever paid to write, one of my proudest moments, but I never saw a dime of it. The money was spent by the ex for paints. He never illustrated the book though and without that enthusiasm the project died. In the end though, it was being told in no uncertain terms that I had a good idea that flickered some life back into the writing dream. When I get published, she'll be on that acknowledgements page. I promise.
Time passed. I wised up, broke up, packed up. Lege offered me the empty room in his apartment and I came back home. I still didn't write. It took two years or so before I realized I wanted to write a book. That I wanted to do it for real. At the same time, that was the way it needed to be. I don't think writing gets in the way of life, or life gets in the way of writing. It may sound corny, but writing IS life and not in the inspirational Nike commercial kind of way, but in the sense that you need to experience things, shake thing up, LIVE and mine those times for all they're worth.
I left writing. I came back. It was still there. I don't think being able to write is something that abandons you or fades away. It's something you chose. Something you decide to make important. Something you fight for, and HARD. You scrounge minutes, half scenes scribbled at red lights and during nap times. Life sometimes gets complicated, and we're forced to step back from writing. Just make sure you remember to step forward again.